“Agony and hilarity,” said Norman MacLean, “are both necessary for salvation.” We Christians seem to know a lot about the agony part, but what about hilarity? Why do we have to remind ourselves so often that the Bible is full of funny and ridiculous stories and situations? Why do so few of the pictures we’ve drawn of Jesus show him laughing? Because we’ve forgotten the redemptive power of humor, that’s why. In Jesus Laughed, Robert Darden–senior editor of The Wittenburg Door, the world’s oldest, largest, and pretty much only religious satire magazine–draws on his years of experience deflating religious pomposity and making the faithful laugh to show why humor is so central to the faith, and how to make it a big part of your daily walk with God.
Click here to listen to Terri Gross's interview with Robert Darden on NPR's Fresh Air about the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project. Darden runs the project at Baylor University where he is a journalism professor. The purpose of the project is to identify, acquire, preserve, record, and catalogue the most at-risk music from the black gospel music tradition, primarily between 1945 and 1970.
Robert Darden is Associate Professor of Journalism at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He served for 12 years as Gospel Music Editor for Billboard magazine, and since 1988 has been Senior Editor of The Wittenburg Door, the world’s oldest, largest, and “pretty much only” religious satire magazine. He is the author of more than 25 books, including the definitive People Get Ready! A New History of Black Gospel Music, which has been featured on National Public Radio, and Reluctant Prophets and Clueless Disciples, also published by Abingdon Press.